HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 245

“I’m glad you suggested this,” Harry said. “He still has so much trouble making friends. It’s nice to see him actually hitting it off with someone his own age, even if she’s going to be gone in a few days.”

He glanced over. Tommy closed his eyes and fell backward as a patch of long grass rose to catch him. Colorful flowers bloomed in his hair. Frederica laughed.

“They do seem to make a good pair,” Angela said idly.

Harry was quiet for a moment, then he said, “You’re worried about her, aren’t you?”

“A little, yeah,” Angela said. “There’s only so much I can teach her about our powers. The rest, the really difficult stuff, she has to experience for herself.”

“And you don’t think she can handle it?” Harry asked.

I couldn’t,” Angela replied. “I didn’t find the strength to face this shit until last year.”

“And yet your life still turned out pretty okay,” Harry said.

Angela chuckled.

“Yeah, I suppose that’s true,” she said. “I just don’t want her to have to wait as long as I did.”

“Ultimately, the choice is up to her,” Harry said. “All you can do is—”

Frederica screamed. Angela bolted to her feet as a large grey mass crashed to the ground in front of the kids. It split open and a swarm of hornets poured out. The buzzing filled her ears like white noise.

Angela sprinted toward them, her mind scrolling through all of her powers. She landed on telekinesis and threw her hands up in front of her, placing herself between the hornets and the kids.

It was like trying to stop a rainstorm with dozens of tiny umbrellas. She had to focus on each of the insects individually in order to keep them at bay. A few of them got through, digging their stingers into her cheek, her shoulder, her arm. She felt her power slipping.

Frederica stepped up beside Angela, holding back the hornets Angela couldn’t catch. Angela glanced at the nest on the ground and the papery grey ball floated off into the woods.